Athletic trainers provide multi-skilled care
National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread awareness about the important work that athletic trainers do. This year’s theme is “Providing Health Care Everywhere” which celebrates the multi-skilled approach that athletic trainers take to care for and treat patients.
Charleston Southern University’s athletic training program is the backbone of the athletic department’s success. These trainers put in the time to make sure our athletes can return to their respected sports healed and ready to go.
Sara Steckman, an athletic trainer for CSU, provides medical coverage for all practices, lifts, conditioning sessions, and games, as well as provide injury evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention strategies. “I also act as a liaison between the student-athlete and other medical providers, coaches, and strength coaches,” she said.
Steckman and other athletic trainers work with CSU student-athletes one on one to provide specialized medical advice and evaluations. Providing treatment and watching athletes heal is very rewarding in the field of athletic training.
Steckman said, “Not many memories top getting to see a student-athlete compete in a game for the first time after being out for a long time due to injury or surgery. Seeing all of their hard work pay off is such a rewarding feeling, and I get even more proud of them each time they compete after that moment.”
Being an athletic trainer is a hard job but can be a great field for those interested in athletic medicine. CSU offers a competitive, hands-on athletic training program consisting of a 22-month educational program. It provides students with knowledge, skills, and abilities to function as integral members of the healthcare team. CSU also offers a 3+2 degree program for students who want to complete their bachelor’s in kinesiology and master of athletic training in five years.
Dr. Brian Smith, CSU athletic training program director and associate professor, said, “One of the best parts is guiding and mentoring the students in the program and preparing them to pass the Board of Certification Exam in order to become a certified athletic trainer. It is a great feeling to receive a text or phone call from a student after they have found out that they have passed. Then after hearing that they have been offered their first job.”
Being an athletic trainer is a hard job and the long hours can be taxing. It is both a time and an emotional commitment. CSU athletic trainers spend time with the athletes to understand them on a personal level. They inspire athletes to want to get into the field as well and learn about it. Athletic trainers mentor the athletes and instill good advice.
“Be a professional and present yourself well,” said Smith. “You are building your foundation, and you are going to be able to influence a lot of people, not just your patients. Lastly, base your professional life on what you want out of your personal life. This was advice that was given to me by one of my mentors when I first started out in the profession and it still sticks with me today.”
To learn more about CSU’s AT program and academic curriculum, visit charlestonsouthern.edu/athletic-training.
Kathryn Thorne is a senior at Charleston Southern University and is an intern in the Marketing & Communication office. Photos courtesy of CSU Sports